More Chinese citizens than ever have access to the Internet thanks to mobile technology driving Internet penetration.
According a governmental report released by the China Internet Network Information Center (CNNIC), an estimated 51 million new Chinese users accessed the Internet in 2012, bringing the number of online users to 564 million, an increase of ten percent. This, in turn, has boosted the country’s penetration rate by 3.8 percentage points -- reaching 42.1 percent -- since the end of 2011.
The increase in users, which is larger than the population of Spain, has been laid at the feet of mobile technology. The mobile tech boom, which includes the increased use of tablets and smartphones, has made connecting to online networks easier for Chinese citizens. As a result, the report says that those who go online via tablets, smartphones and wireless networks increased by 18.1 percent, bringing the wireless mobile population to 420 million.
First reported by Techweb, the report also states that while Internet cafes have begun to slide in popularity, desktop computer use also fell by nearly three percentage points in 2012, and laptop use dropped to 45.9 percent of users. Mobile technology use has leapt from 69.3 percent to 74.5 percent.
Microblogging increased six percentage points, growing to a population of 309 million Chinese Internet users. Online shopper rates ramped up to 242 million people. Using mobile technology to buy items online has increased by 6.6 percentage points compared to 2011.
Earlier this month, the Chinese Ministry of Industry and Information Technology estimated that China's Internet population will reach roughly 800 million users by 2015. Mobile Internet access, enjoying a prominent place worldwide, is expected to drive Internet penetration in order to reach this goal, especially as there are over 1 billion mobile phone users in the country.